Politely Turning Down An Internship

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Politely Turning Down An Internship


Q: Hi Lauren,

First of all, I just want to say that I love your site and really admire all
of the work you've done. You're such an inspiration! I just have a quick
question and am in need of some advice. How do you politely turn down an
internship offer? I've been lucky enough to have been offered several
internships for the spring, but I can obviously only take one. How do I turn
down the others without cutting ties? I might be interested in applying to
future internships or even jobs at those companies, so how should I approach
this situation?

Thanks for your help!


A: Hi Christina,

This is a very common question. Especially today when students are forced to apply for so many positions because of the competitive nature of the space. For the Spring semester, you most likely have several commitments so you want to be very careful about selecting the right internship for you. I suggest always calling and never emailing the internship coordinator. The tone of an email can often be unknown (sort of like a text message). Make sure to go out of your way to call the person, apologize for having to turn down the offer, thank them for the offer and taking the time to interview you, and explain to them that you had another offer come in that you think is a better fit for the Spring semester. Tell them that you really would like to stay in touch and potentially reach out again in the future when you have a more flexible schedule.

In all honesty, they might not consider you again for the internship. You do run that risk. However, if you play your cards right and you are sincere and tell them as soon as possible, they might re-consider. I would absolutely stay in touch with this person and actually prove to them that you do value them as a professional contact.

Good luck and don't stress. It will work out.

Lauren Berger
"The Intern Queen"